The Gophers will look to salvage a series split Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Minnesota went up 1-0 at North Dakota when Kyle Rau scored his 13th goal of the season (leads all freshmen nationally) at the 6:29 mark of the second period. North Dakota tied the game 1-1 with nine seconds left in the second period when Andrew MacWilliam's shot from the blueline found the back of the net. North Dakota picked up its first win of the year against Minnesota when Brock Nelson scored at 16:25 of the third period. Kent Patterson made 23 saves in the 2-1 defeat.
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The Gophers are 15-8-1 on the season. Of their eight defeats, seven have been by one goal and one was in overtime. Minnesota's only loss of more than one goal was a 3-1 defeat at Wisconsin on Nov. 11. Minnesota is 4-7-0 in one-goal games this year. The Gophers beat North Dakota in a one-goal game (3-2 win) at Mariucci Arena on Nov. 5.
For only the second time all season a power-play goal was not scored by either team in a game that involved the Gophers. Minnesota took six shots on four power-play opportunities, while North Dakota had one shot during three power-play chances. The other game that did not involve a power-play goal for either team was Minnesota's 4-1 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 12. The Gophers were scoreless in four power-play opportunities, while Wisconsin did not convert on its three power-play chances.
Minnesota managed only one goal last night in a 2-1 loss at North Dakota. It was only the second time all season that the Gophers failed to score more than one goal. The other time was a 3-1 loss at Wisconsin on Nov. 11.
Minnesota allowed two goals to North Dakota last night at times when it does not typically allow goals. North Dakota scored with nine seconds left in the second period and that was the first time that an opponent scored in the final minute of any period against the Gophers this year. North Dakota then scored with 3:25 left in the third period to win the game. It was only the second goal that Minnesota allowed in the last five minutes of a game this season (Minnesota Duluth scored with two minutes left in a 5-4 win for the Gophers on Oct. 14)
Bjugstad, Rau On Board
Nick Bjugstad assisted on Kyle Rau's second-period goal last night. Both players are averaging one point-per-game against North Dakota for their careers. Bjugstad has five points (2g-3a) in five games, while Rau has three points (2g-1a) in three games.
Avoiding A Sweep
The Gophers will look to avoid getting swept for the first time this season against North Dakota tonight. Wisconsin, St. Cloud State and Michigan State all had the opportunity to sweep the Gophers this year, but Minnesota bounced back with wins against the Badgers and Huskies and tied Michigan State. The last time the Gophers were swept on the road and in the regular season was Dec. 3-4, 2010, at Minnesota State.